Regulatory burden is imposed when regulation and policies are implemented and increase the amount of paperwork, cost and time for businesses to operate. In agriculture, regulatory burden can be imposed by varying levels of government: municipal, provincial and federal. Some issues can be multi-jurisdictional which further complexes the burden.
The reasons that regulations are burdensome to agriculture are varying. Outdated regulations can limit growth and often don’t reflect the current direction of the industry. Inspection has proven to be a challenge across a multitude of aspects of the agriculture industry. Access to abattoirs is a barrier for many livestock farmers in Nova Scotia and pending changes under the provincial inspection system have the potential to further limit inspection times and booking deadlines. While legislation is often burdensome, there are elements that are promising. For example, The Meat Inspection Act has a provision allowing the Minister to convene an advisory committee on topics related to abattoirs and meat inspection. Many of the challenges that processors face would be able to be addressed through this committee.
Labour and worksite inspection are becoming challenges as well. While the labour gap and the process to apply for foreign labour are addressed in the Labour Gap standing policy, labour and records inspections and provincial regulations differing from federal program contracts have caused conflict for farms accessing federal foreign labour programs.
Regulatory burden has been a Standing Policy of the Federation for a long time. New regulations and changes to existing regulations are inevitable; however, should be implemented in such as way that minimally impacts farmers, farm families and farm operations. NSFA regularly collaborates with industry stakeholders – Canadian Federation of Agriculture, commodity organizations and others – to ensure that impact is minimal and that changes are warranted.
It shall be the policy of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to continue to monitor, participate and communicate changes to regulations at the provincial and federal levels that will impact agriculture. NSFA will also work with industry stakeholders to ensure compliance requirements are well communicated throughout the industry.